You probably already know that calcium is good for your bones.

True, 98% of the body’s total calcium content is in the bones and teeth, giving them their structure and hardness. But what you might not know is the remaining 2% is in the particular blood, and is essential for muscle movement, heartbeat, nerve function plus blood clotting.

If we don’t get enough calcium mineral, not only are our bones at risk, but we can get muscle cramps, numbness in our own legs, feet  and hands, chronic joint and muscle mass pain, depression  and severe dental problems. Children who don’t obtain enough calcium supplement may not reach their full growth potential.

To meet the body’s needs we should get 1, 000 mg per day. After the age of 50 women need 1, 200 mg; men’s requires increase in order to 1, 200 mg after the age associated with 70.

Calcium comes mostly from dairy — milk, cheese  and yogurt. Yet there are also some good non-dairy sources as well.

These include green leafy vegetables, such as collard greens, spinach  and turnip greens, as well as calcium-fortified foods including orange juice, tofu, almond plus soy dairy. Sardines, canned salmon with bones, and chia seeds are also good sources.

Susie’s previous three columns:

What is a superfood?   Find out so you can improve your own overall health

Are Carbs public enemy No. 1?   Absolutely not. They’re really important

Mental help: Want your brain to age well? Take these dietary suggestions

So how do you know if you’re getting enough?

If you’re consuming two to three full servings of calcium-rich foods each day, you’re likely to be getting all you need.

A full serving is 8 ounces of whole milk, 2 oz . of cheese, 6 ounces of yogurt, 1 cup of cooked green greens, 3 ounces associated with calcium-fortified tofu, or 8 ounces of a calcium-fortified beverage. Try to include a good source of calcium supplements at each meal; in case you can’t do that, then make up the difference at snack time.

Calcium supplements are furthermore an option for helping you achieve your intake goal. They’re inexpensive and are readily available over the particular counter.

Supplements come within various forms — tablet, capsule, liquid, powder  plus chewable.

There are four basic forms of calcium supplements: calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium lactate  and calcium gluconate. All are absorbed equally nicely, but there are differences you’ll want in order to be aware of.

Calcium carbonate

Calcium carbonate is the most common type. It contains the greatest amount of calcium mineral per dose (40% by weight), which means you have to take fewer pills in order to meet your needs. It is also the least expensive.

Tums and Rolaids contain calcium supplement carbonate and can be used as the chewable supplement as well as for relief from heartburn and indigestion.

Calcium carbonate should be taken along with meals with regard to maximum absorption. Stomach acid is required to break down calcium carbonate, and stomach acid secretion will be greatest in mealtime.

The only downside in order to calcium carbonate is that it can sometimes cause mild constipation and bloating.

Calcium citrate

Another popular supplement is usually calcium citrate. Calcium citrate can become taken on an empty stomach as it does not require stomach acid to break it down.

It is a better option regarding people with low gastric acid this kind of as the particular elderly (stomach acid secretion decreases after the age of 50), those with celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease or gastritis. It is less constipating than calcium supplements carbonate.

On the other hand, calcium citrate is more expensive  plus it contains less calcium per dosage (21%, compared to 40% intended for calcium carbonate), so a person use more tablets to meet your needs.

Calcium lactate

Calcium lactate is a less well-known option. It only consists of 13% calcium mineral by weight.

It really is less convenient and costlier than other forms. This can end up being taken on an empty stomach.

This form of calcium mineral is a lot more often used by the food industry as an additive to enhance flavor plus texture or even help extend shelf life.

Calcium gluconate

Calcium gluconate contains the least amount of calcium supplement of all, only 9% by excess weight. It is generally prescribed to get medical emergencies where it can be delivered intravenously.

Calcium carbonate and calcium supplements citrate are the preferred choices, as they contain higher levels associated with calcium plus are lower in cost.   However, all types are absorbed well and are safe for most people.

Zero matter which usually type of product you choose, keep in mind that the body can’t absorb any more than 500 mg from a time, so if you need more, divide your doses up throughout the day at different meals.

If you take Synthroid (levothyroxine), take it with a different time of day, as calcium may interfere with this medication.

If you have kidney stones, you may want to avoid dietary supplements altogether.

If you rely upon a calcium supplement to help meet your own needs, remember that they only provide calcium, and none of the other nutrients found in natural calcium-containing food items.

Milk provides not just calcium, but protein, potassium, riboflavin, and many some other nutrients. Leafy greens give us vitamins, minerals plus antioxidants not really provided by health supplements. Real food is always your best source of nutrition.

Be aware that there are factors that inhibit your assimilation of calcium mineral. These consist of smoking and excessive amounts of alcohol. High consumption of protein and sodium (salt) cause the body to excrete calcium.

Iron supplements furthermore interfere with calcium supplement absorption; when you get a multivitamin containing iron, be sure to consider your calcium supplements at the different period of day time.

High levels of phosphorus can lead to calcium loss from bones. Dark sodas contain a significant quantity of this mineral. Consuming 3 to 4 cans associated with soda for each day is enough to threaten bones.

As important as calcium is definitely, equally important is vitamin D. Vitamin D enhances the particular absorption of calcium; without enough associated with this vitamin the entire body can only soak up about 10-15% from the calcium mineral consumed.

Unfortunately, there is very little organic vitamin Deb in food. The only real natural food sources are egg yolks plus fatty fish (salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel). Milk can be artificially fortified with supplement D. Multivitamins typically contain 100% of what all of us need.

Luckily, your body can produce its own vitamin D, through exposure of bare skin in order to sunshine.

Your body will make all it needs if you expose the equivalent associated with your face and arms to sunshine pertaining to 10-15 minutes, 2 to 3 times per week.

In case you do this consistently during the warm months of the year, your body can make plus store enough to get you through the rest of the year. The body can store vitamin M in your fatty tissues meant for six months.

Just one warning though: sunscreen with an SPF associated with 8 or more blocks all calciferol synthesis in the skin. In case you apply sunscreen regularly, you might want to wait about 10-15 moments after you’re outside to apply it.

Susie Bond is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist in private practice. Contact her on [email protected] com

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